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Working for GIZ

March 28, 2011
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So I finally got a job!  Yay!  Well… actually, I’ve had it since I returned from the Christmas holidays – but I am just now getting around to writing about it.  Yay!

It’s a really cool job that I couldn’t be happier about.  I like the actual work that I am doing, I like my boss and the other people that I work with, and even the logistics of it (getting to work and coordinating work schedules with Katie) work out great.  Our work places are so close together we even get to meet up for lunch most of the time. We certainly feel like real adults now too.  We get up early in the morning together, get all dressed up (I usually wear a tie!), eat some breakfast (sometimes on the go), and head out to our jobs!

I’ll get more into the job itself in a second, but first a bit about the organization.  I’m working for “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit”.  Heard of it?  Oh, well maybe you know it by its old name; they changed it at the beginning of this year.  They used to be called, “Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit”.  Still no, huh?  Well it’s a German company that does development work.  It’s roughly translated to the German International Corporation (GIZ), formerly the German Technical Corporation (GTZ).  That’s right they changed their name, and subsequently their acronym, to GIZ.  Which, and I’m not saying that I do, you could spend hours coming up with hilarious sexual innuendos for.  I mean I can’t believe they didn’t think of that before hand – they really blew it.  Wow, that’s too easy.

From the UNEP, 2010 Africa Water Atlas

Anyways, I am part of GIZ’s “Transborder Water Management in the Congo Basin” (GETRACO) project that is working to support the international organization, CICOS (The International Commission for the Congo-Oubangui-Sanga river basin).  CICOS represents 4 Congo basin countries, the DR Congo, the Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Cameroon. Basically, the four countries got together in order to coordinate issues related to navigation and water resources.  A really awesome and important organization.

GETRACO works to help provide technical assistance as well as ‘capacity building’  and is split into 5 sub-projects, 1) The development of a data base to record all river data, 2) The development of the Code of Inland Navigation that all member countries will abide by, 3) The support of a navigational training center (the only one of its kind in DRC), 4) Institutional development and capacity building for CICOS itself, and 5) the support of the water resources activities.

I basically split my time half and half between general monitoring and evaluation of each of the five components and then working specifically with the water resources group.  Currently we are working to develop a process for member countries to follow in order for them to get approval on any hydrological infrastructure projects that they may wish to build, as well as a procedure for conflict resolution. Both quite complex, but fascinating issues.  And, with these two projects I may get to do some traveling too, which would be awesome.

Working at the CICOS building does have its challenges.  We don’t have a generator and city power, even in the downtown, is unreliable.  I’m lucky in that I have a laptop to work on, but many of the CICOS employees don’t. And trying to work without electricity is hard!  Also, without electricity, it gets very hot in the office.

But really I can’t complain.  I came to the Congo without any job lined up and ended up finding something that I really like, in my field.  Pretty spectacular.

Jamie in a tie just getting home from work (photo added by Katie for Gretchen)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Gretchen permalink
    March 28, 2011 10:01 pm

    You would love GIZ. But seriously…this is awesome. It is quite unreal that you and Katie would get to work so close and are able to go on lunch dates in the Congo in the middle of a work day where Jamie wears a tie. What?! is this really happening? I love hearing your stories and I hope your work continues to be fun and interesting…which I have no doubt it will be 🙂 Also, do you have to speak German?

    Love and miss you both!!
    -G

    • Katie R permalink*
      March 29, 2011 12:24 am

      Hey Gretchen! Jamie wears ties almost everyday now- I added a photo to prove it! Sometimes I help him pick out which tie, but sometimes he picks them out on his own 🙂

      Love and miss you, too!

  2. KatieM permalink
    March 29, 2011 2:43 am

    Congrats! I’m glad to hear everything worked out 🙂

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